Skip to main content

Nicholas Wilder Gallery records, 1944-1984, (bulk 1968-1979)

Nicholas Wilder Gallery records, 1944-1984, (bulk 1968-1979)

Nicholas Wilder Gallery

Collection Information

Size: 2.4 linear feet

Biographical/Historical Note

Art gallery; Los Angeles, Calif. Est. 1965; closed 1979. Nicholas Wilder was considered Los Angeles' leading contemporary art dealer during the 1960s and 1970s. He opened the gallery on La Cienega Boulevard in 1965 during the street's heyday as a "happening place." He discovered emerging young artists and made them known not only in Los Angeles but in New York City as well. In 1970, he moved his gallery from La Cienega to Santa Monica Boulevard and by 1979, his best known artists had moved next door to the James Corcoran Gallery, prompting Wilder to leave Los Angeles for New York City, where he worked not as a dealer but as an artist, specializing in abstract assemblages. Wilder died in July 1989.


Donated 1998 by Matthew Curtis Klebaum, a friend of Wilder's and a former employee of the James Corcoran Gallery.

Related Materials

Scope and Contents

Scattered documentation of the contemporary art gallery's fourteen years of operation include artists' inventory cards, photographic transparencies, letters and correspondence, invitations, notes, business and financial documents, and printed materials.

The majority of records date from the period after the gallery moved to La Cienega Boulevard to Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. Very few records pertaining to specific exhibitions or openings are included in this collection. However, there is one exhibition catalog and scattered gallery invitations which were used as scrap paper. Other materials include business records that contain financial materials and notes. Printed Materials contain popular newspapers and magazines that reflect Wilder's interests, invitations to other galleries, auction catalogs, and business cards. Correspondence includes scattered gallery correspondence, Wilder's personal correspondence and documents, and holiday cards.

The bulk of the collection consists of artist files which include inventory cards and transparencies of works of art. Information on the inventory cards and transparencies may specify: date of creation, date of accession, potential collectors, purchase records, and titles. Notable artists include: Joe Goode, Tom Holland, Robert Graham, Billy Al Bengston, Cy Twombly, Ken Price, Ed Moses, Ron Davis, John McCracken, Kenneth Noland, Helen Frankenthaler, Jules Olitski, Agnes Martin, Edward Avedisian, John Altoon, Richard Yokomi, Sam Francis, Bruce Nauman, Hans Hofmann, and David Hockney. The majority of inventory cards reflect business at the gallery in the mid-late 1970s.

Financial records originating from the James Corcoran Gallery are included in this collection. The relationship between the two establishments is unclear although it seems that the James Corcoran Gallery moved into the space previously occupied by the Nicholas Wilder Gallery.

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

  • No downloads available